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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section 4

Tamiko Beyer

Tamiko Beyer
Something sweet to sleep–
Adams street, lit blush. We rock
in the river’s downstream force.
The blade’s simplicity—chop,
dice, core. The mixing bowl’s
tenacity: flour, sugar eggs.
And then the chocolate,
the slim bean, the nut.
Hands stained, I pull

the cake from the oven. Heat
pushes me back. Legacy
girls, their ghosts picking
through cocoa beans
stitching up sack, hands calloused,
biceps ropey and strong.
Mist rises and the trees bleed
their leaves into late-fall
water. The river sounds
of heavy coats, boots
at a union meeting,
the money we turn into power.
When sunlight moves across
the windows, I see her fingerprints
smudged across glass. Today, our warships
are full of war. No wonder the ghosts
show up, hair tendriling the river,
tongues stretching across the too-warm sky.
When we lie down to sleep, your taut
muscles soften to skin and warm. We are hot
here, breast to breast and long.
We rip the sheet, we scrape
the brick, the ghosts wish
they had skin again.
We are bare wood
rafters. Wrought iron gates,
brick and brick, river and river:
force of industry and conquer.
If there is a haunting, it is of water
and dirt. The soul lets go once
and then again. We survive evolution.
Or, our bodies respond
to song one way, to drumbeat
another. When the last light
is gone we take it
to the sky like a summons.
Tamiko Beyer is the author of We Come Elemental (Alice James Books, winner of the Kinereth Gensler Award and a Lambda Literary Award Finalist) and the chapbook bough breaks (Meritage Press). Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in the Denver Quarterly, The Volta, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. She has received grants and fellowships from Kundiman, Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund, Hedgebrook, and Washington University in St. Louis where she received her M.F.A. in creative writing. She is the Deputy Communications Director at Corporate Accountability International where she harnesses the written word to challenge some of the most powerful and abusive corporations in the world. She lives in Dorchester and online at



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